Lions make coaching staff change, fire special teams coordinator Joe Marciano

Marciano originally hired by Jim Caldwell

Matt Patricia has made the first big change to his coaching staff.

On Monday night, the Lions announced that special teams coordinator Joe Marciano had been fired.

The team released this statement from Patricia: “Tonight I spoke to Joe and informed him of my decision to relieve him of his responsibilities with our team. I appreciate Joe’s leadership of our special teams units over the last three and a half seasons and have great respect for his many years of service as a coach in the National Football League. On behalf of our team and the entire coaching staff, I want to personally thank Joe for his commitment to the Detroit Lions and wish him and his family the best moving forward.”

When Patricia was hired in February he kept Marciano who had been hired by former coach Jim Caldwell in 2015 and led the special teams since then.

This season, which the Lions have started 3-5, sloppy special teams play has been an issue along with 14 penalties that cost 132 yards. That included three special teams penalties in each of the last two games, both losses.

Patricia said on Friday that he thinks across the league, there might be more innovation in special teams than on offense or defense.

“There’s a lot of teams that do a lot of good stuff on all three phases really to be honest with you. I would say if you dive into just in general with the League, special teams I would say right now is the one that’s having kind of the most change or adaptation, especially with the kickoff, kickoff return,’’ Patricia said. “It’s interesting to see how teams are handling that situation with the rule change and the alignments and all the rest of it. That’s a big one to take a look at and study.’’

Marciano, 64, had been a special teams coordinator with the New Orleans Saints (1986-1995), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2001), Houston Texans (2002-2013) and the Minnesota Vikings (2014).

The team did not announce a replacement. Devin Fitzsimmons is the assistant special teams coach.

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